Salamieh over Fifty Centuries
.أمين، محمود. سلمية في خمسين قرنا. دمشق: مطبعة كرم، ١٩٨٣، ٣٩٠ص

Amin, Mahmud. Salamiyyah fi Khamsin Qarnan. Damascus: Matba‘at Karam, 1983, 390pp.

Salamieh over Fifty Centuries

سلمية في خمسين قرنا

This book is considered the first comprehensive and detailed study of the town of Salamieh in central Syria. Since there are no previous studies on the town itself, the author has relied on his own observations, the studies of the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM), and other sources related to the Levant and the Middle East. He has also taken into consideration the oral narrations of a number of elderly locals whose names are listed in the index. The author’s objective is to produce an inclusive study of Salamieh covering fifty centuries of its history.

The book focuses generally on the history of Salamieh, its archaeological monuments, and the origins of its families and their places of residence. It also explores Salamians’ traditions, culture, relations with their neighbours, and the ancient roots of their society which are closely connected with the history of Ismailis in the Levant. The first three chapters give an elaborate historical account of Salamieh from the pre-Islamic era up to the twentieth century by describing and analysing the major historical events in the region. In the subsequent two chapters, the author sheds light on the stages of Salamieh’s recovery and expansion after it was destroyed by the Mongols. The last chapter deals with the evolution of all aspects of Salamieh’s society, including its building models, male and female clothing, traditions and customs, games, schools, libraries, economics, transportation and so forth. It also demonstrates the influence of Bedouins and the neighbouring cities such as Hama and Homs. 

The importance of the book lies in its documentation of Salamieh’s oral history and culture. Throughout the book and especially in the last chapter the author explains local terms and phrases now largely dying out.

The book could have benefited from some geographical and historical maps and some pictures of the traditional clothes which are no longer commonly seen. It also lacks good referencing. However, this work serves as a primary source for researchers and students interested in conducting any study related to Salamieh. The language is simple and clear which makes it accessible to diverse readers.

Maha Yaziji
Yaziji, Maha. “English abstract of 'Salamieh over Fifty Centuries'". Translated by Maha Yaziji. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi, 114. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations Abstracts - The Aga Khan University
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